A Magical Place to Grow Up: Veggie Share #5 – Wed., July 6th
A Magical Place To Grow Up
Middle school is tough. No matter where you grow up. The pressure to fit into the norm is intense.
In Mt. Horeb, the popular kids don’t come from farming families. In general, they come from hetero-normative families, they play sports, their parents work in Madison, and they live in homes built within the last 15 years. The kids who grow up on farms get made fun of by the more suburban-minded kids. And sadly, one of the most common taunts to any kid on the bus is, “Your Mom’s gay.”
Our kids don’t meet any of the criteria of the ‘cool’ kids. Their parents live on a farm. Their parents are divorced yet work together still. One of their parents (me!) lives in a home built in 1888 – and she actually IS gay.
Our eldest daughter has come to hate living on a farm – mostly because middle school has taught her to be ashamed of it. She rails on the farm and constantly states her preference that I did something else for a living. That I could be anyone other than who I am. She separately wants me to be NORMAL.
It hurts – both because it’s exhausting to experience an all-knowing pre-teen constantly rail of your choice of livelihood, but also because I feel sad for her.
She grew up on this farm and loved it. I hurt for her that societal norms have taken away her love of place and home.
In a particularly hard conversation, she told me through tears that she used to think living on a farm was “a totally magical place to grow up, but now I know it’s not.”
Breaks my heart a little.
The weekends’ event was a wonderful antidote to the sadness I feel around my daughter’s loss of innocence, as translated to hatred of the farm. There were families of all types roaming the fields, picking berries, laughing in the shed as they made shirts. The farm was absolutely alive with community and food and it made my heart soar!
My younger two kids still have that innocence – they kept saying, “Mom! I’ve never seen so many cars here! They are parked so far down the road, we can’t see where it stops!” They still have pride in their home farm. It still makes them feel special to know that we are a place community wants to come to.
Now I know better to cherish this before it temporarily disappears with my other two kids.
Because it will be temporary. They will look back at growing up here one day and feel fond of their childhoods on the farm – but there will be some hard teen years …pre-drivers license…. that will challenge that feeling in the meantime.
The farming, parenting adventure continues.